Picture this: You, living in Midtown Manhattan, studying art and design, taking in everything The City has to offer...and you aren’t going broke doing it. Sound too good to be true? I thought so too, until I visited Fashion Institute of Technology.
Located on 7th Avenue, right in the heart of Manhattan, FIT is one of the most prestigious art schools in the country. The campus takes up roughly one city block and is closed off in the evenings to allow safety and privacy for students living on campus. However, by day FIT is a well-integrated part of the surrounding city. Students step off campus right into bustling foot traffic, and a variety of well-known landmarks are within walking distance, including Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building, and Washington Square Park.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming FIT is only a fashion school. While their Fashion Design program is notable, they offer a broad range of arts-related majors, including concentrations in areas such as marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. They also offer several very unique majors, including Menswear, Toy Design, and Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing.
One of the most unique aspects of FIT’s academics is their 2+2 program. All students start out in a 2-year associate’s degree program in their area of study. Not only does this allow students to pay lower tuition the first two years, it also ensures that more students walk away from FIT with at least one degree under their belt. This is especially helpful for students who have to pause or quit their education early. Another advantage of the 2+2 program is that at the halfway point, students have a choice to either continue in their original area of study or switch to a different one. A huge concern I often hear from students and parents alike is the potential for lost time and money if a student switches majors. Through the 2+2 program, students still earn a degree in their first two years of study, even if they switch to a different major at the halfway point.
Another huge selling-point of FIT is the cost. Students who are considering an art school education should take note of how expensive art schools can be. There are tons of big-name schools out there with equally big price tags, costing sometimes upwards of $70,000 per year. FIT is a public university, part of the SUNY system, which means in-state students pay very low tuition. Even out-of-state students get a bargain compared to many art schools’ prices. At FIT, the average net price—how much people are actually paying after financial aid has been applied—is only $12,999 per year, according to collegescorecard.ed.gov. Compare this to an average net price of $34,945 at nearby Parsons, the New School of Design or $40,435 at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Furthermore, according to College Scorecard, graduates of FIT have higher average earnings after graduation than either of the other two.
So, how do you get in to FIT? Admissions can be competitive, especially to the most sought-after programs, including Fashion Design. While good grades are important, admissions officers are especially looking for students who have already achieved a basic level of skill in their area of study. Another key is to know your choice of major when applying because you can’t apply here undecided. FIT is also test-optional, so if you don’t test well, there’s no need to submit scores. Overall, they’re looking for creative students who have a demonstrated passion for their chosen area of study.
FIT may not be the perfect fit for every aspiring creative, but if it sounds like a fit for you, give your coaches a call. We’d love to discuss FIT or any college you’re considering.